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Modified Jennian Homes New Zealand Track And Field Championships To Be Held

Athletics New Zealand is pleased to confirm a modified version of the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track and Field Championships will take place over two days in Hawke’s Bay on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 March, featuring U-20 and senior athletes but unfortunately not able to include U-18 entrants.

Many logistical challenges needed to be taken into consideration, including limited accommodation in the region, flight availability and the need to limit numbers at the venue due to ongoing uncertainty around the Covid-19 alert levels and associated gathering restrictions.

The most viable option was to decrease the competition to two days and restrict entry to U-20 and seniors only.

“After lengthy discussions and taking all options into account, we are pleased to be able to host a national championships in these challenging times, albeit in a modified format,” says Athletics NZ CEO Peter Pfitzinger.

“This event is always the highlight of our calendar and assumes even more importance this year with our elite athletes building towards the Olympics and Paralympics or pushing for national selection for other competitions,” he adds.

“We’re looking forward to bringing some world-class athletics to the Hawke’s Bay region and watching our top athletes in action.”

While pleased to be able to stage a modified version of the championships, Pfitzinger says it is disappointing U-18 athletes will not be able to take part.

Athletics NZ intends to instead hold a New Zealand U-18 Championships, most likely towards the end of the year, to allow athletes in that age-group to compete nationally and is currently looking at options for such an event.

“We are aware not being able to compete in Hawke’s Bay will be very disappointing for these athletes, their families and supporters as they have been training hard for many weeks and had made plans to attend. But, given the logistical challenges and uncertainties around the alert levels, we unfortunately had no choice but to limit the numbers,” he says.

“I can assure all U-18 entrants and their families that this was not a decision that was made lightly and we are looking forward to providing them with another opportunity to compete later in the year. We also hope that U-18 athletes in secondary school will take advantage of the opportunity to compete in the NZ Secondary Schools South Island and North Island Championships, both set to take place over the coming weeks.”

The Jennian Homes New Zealand Track and Field Championships were originally scheduled for 5-7 March but could not be held on those dates following Saturday’s government announcement that Auckland is at Alert Level 3 and the rest of the country at Alert Level 2 until Sunday 7 March.

Since the government announcement, Athletics NZ has consulted extensively with many relevant parties – including the venue, local organising committee, regional centres, Athletics NZ Athletes’ Commission, officials and accommodation providers – to ensure the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track and Field Championships could still be staged in some capacity in a safe manner.

A revised programme for the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track and Field Championships is currently being developed and will be made available by Friday with a fully-timed programme to be confirmed by the end of next week following confirmation of final entry numbers for each event.

Athletics NZ would like to thank and acknowledge Napier City Council, Hastings District Council, Mitre 10 Park Hawke’s Bay and Jennian Homes, as well as our other partners and sponsors, for their continued support around this decision.

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